On September 29, 2005, less than one month after William H. Rehnquist's death, the conservative John G. Roberts, Jr. was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to assume Rehnquist's vacant seat as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States. At the age of 50, he became the youngest to lead the bench since 1801.
Since the Roberts court came into session, trends have suggested a general rightward shift among most of the justices (despite the health care ruling). The reasons are manifold: from Roberts' influence to the replacement of moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with the more conservative Justice Samuel Alito. What implications do these changes have on the doctrinal leaning of the court and future legislation?